After what seemed to be an endless search for a new vehicle we purchased a 2006 Outback Sport with a 5 speed manual transmission. We have been driving it for several weeks and like it better all the time. The fuel economy has been better than we had expected. So far, the worst has been 26.5 mpg and the best 29.6 mpg. This has been in our normal day-to-day driving and does not include any long highway trips. Compared to the new cars that we have owned in the past, the build quality is excellent. We have noticed only one small problem, a defective seam in one tail light unit which allows water to enter while going through the car wash. To drive it is to enjoy it.
All wheel drive. Handling on bad roads. Fuel economy. Overall good design.